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United Insurance Group

Ardonagh acquires local underwriting agency in global deal

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The UK’s Ardonagh Group has acquired Sydney-based underwriting agency Epsilon as part of a broader, globally significant deal announced today.

Ardonagh has agreed, subject to regulatory approvals, to acquire the insurance operations of BGC Partners for $US500 million ($645 million).

The acquisition of 100% of Ed Broking Group and Besso Insurance, recently grouped together under the brand of Corant Global, includes (re)insurance broker Ed, Lloyd’s broker Besso, aviation specialist Piiq Risk Partners, German marine broker Junge, UK-based agency Globe Underwriting, European agency Cooper Gay, and Epsilon Underwriting.

Ardonagh says 900 people work across the brands, which contributed about $US191 million ($246 million) in revenue during the year ending March 31.

CEO David Ross says the deal marks a “compelling shakeup” of the global wholesale landscape.

“A backdrop of unprecedented levels of consolidation has created a vacuum in the market, a space from which the BGC and Ardonagh businesses will emerge together as a pre-eminent force, restoring balance and cultivating a preferred destination for top-performing talent,” he said.

Earlier this year Ardonagh acquired Australian authorised representative network Resilium, and local industry veteran Paul Lynam was appointed Chairman.

Mr Lynam is a former chairman of Epsilon, which was formed in 2001 primarily as a liability specialist, but has since expanded into accident & health and other areas. Its CEO is Morgan Long and Chief Underwriting Officer is Paul O’Leary, a former longtime colleague of Mr Lynam’s from Gallagher-owned Pen, where Mr Lynam was CEO, and SRS, the agency founded by Mr Lynam which was bought by Gallagher in 2012.

Writing on LinkedIn this morning, Mr Lynam said he is "thrilled" by the deal.

"As former chairman of Epsilon I know this business has a great culture, a fantastic product offering and its people are #1," he said.